Deadspin on the Marlins

Yesterday, Deadspin ran its preview of the Florida Marlins. I enjoy reading Deadspin commentary, but I have to say I disagree with analysis of the organization by guest contributor Dan Lewis.

The moral of the story: The Marlins are probably going to suck, but could accidentally make the playoffs.

Lewis is involved with a lot of cool sports stuff on the net, but I think he’s underestimating the Marlins a bit. It’s possible that I’m misinterpreting his humor as actual digs at the Marlins, but I’ll use his commentary as my foil for today’s book promotion because I think discounting the Marlins is all too common. While we often hear about the ability of the Oakland A’s and Minnesota Twins to win on a small budget, the Marlins are rarely mentioned in the conversation.

When thinking about the Marlins organization, it’s easy to be distracted by their antagonistic relationship with the Miami community. I don’t admire this aspect of the franchise, but I am amazed at the efficiency with which the Marlins operate. In The Baseball Economist, I develop a organizational-rating method that reveals the Marlins as MLB’s best-managed franchise in baseball. Over the past four seasons the Marlins have won an average of 84 games with an average payroll of only $41 million, which is about 40% less than the MLB average payroll. Over this same period, this is 5 games more than Lewis’s beloved New York Mets, who averaged a payroll of $104 million—that’s about 40% more than the MLB average. Maybe the Mets should use their budget to target Marlins executives instead of free agents.

The moral of the story: the Marlins winning ways are no accident. This is a well-run organization that knows how to manage its resources. That this front office doesn’t get more attention for its excellence is surprising.

One Response “Deadspin on the Marlins”

  1. Andrew says:

    I think the reason the Marlins take a bum rap is because they go through massive “fire sales” while the Twins and A’s more subtly replenish their systems. Because of the ’97 Marlins, I think their talent tends to mature about the same time (i.e. 2003 World Series), then all reach free agency/last year arbitration at the same time and are promptly traded.